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Clinton: 'It’ll be Newt Gingrich all over again'


Dana Goldstein talks to Bill Clinton about the midterms -- and their aftermath:

Disgruntled Obama supporters planning to sit out the midterms are making “a horrible mistake,” [Clinton] said. “Like everything else you do when you’re mad, there’s an 80 percent change you’re making a mistake. You’ll get the exact result you don’t want.”

Clinton accused the media of not fact-checking the anti-government health-care and economic policies of the Republican Party and its Tea Party supporters, and painted a bleak picture of what life in Washington would look like under a GOP Congress. “There will be two years of unrelenting investigation of the White House, the staff, the Cabinet,” he warned. “It’ll be Newt Gingrich all over again. If only the American people knew this -- not from me -- but from disinterested parties.”

Photo credit: Mario Tama/Getty Images

By Ezra Klein  | September 21, 2010; 1:00 PM ET
Categories:  2010 Midterms  
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Next: The best health-care cartoon you'll see today


many democrats hold bill clinton in high esteem, so i hope they read this, and take it to heart.

and this, from rachel maddow,
" the 2010 crop of candidates was more extreme on issues like abortion than many in the past. Five of them want to ban abortion entirely, even in the cases of rape and incest.
She then played a clip of Indiana Rep. Mike Pence at the recent Value Voters Summit, where he said that banning gay marriage was essential to achieving fiscal solvency."

how can democrats and rational independent voters not be energized and motivated to vote, when the stakes are so high?
maybe people will start waking up now.
that is the hope.

Posted by: jkaren | September 21, 2010 1:06 PM | Report abuse

If anyone is qualified to speak from experience on this topic, it's Bill Clinton.

Posted by: KBfromNC | September 21, 2010 1:17 PM | Report abuse

Well, let's see. In 1994 the economy was pretty crappy, Democrats were in charge of everything and trying to clean up Reagan and Bush I's messes, and the Dems' plan for the election was to demonize Gingrich and the Republicans. Gingrich, on the other hand, offered a Contract with America full of specific and popular (though bad) policies.

Where is the Democratic Party's Contract with America? If voters return Democrats to power, what positive things will they do in the next two years? I really, really wish I knew.

I keep harping on this because it seems so obvious. Churchill helped save Britain during WWII. In gratitude, the British people booted him from office. If Democrats are counting on gratitude to get them through November, we're all SOL.

Posted by: stonedone | September 21, 2010 1:17 PM | Report abuse

--"Where is the Democratic Party's Contract with America?"--

Ha. What a disgraceful document that would be. And there never will be such a thing, at least not an honest attempt at such a thing. If the collectivists were honest about their aims, they'd be defenestrated, pronto, for the utter ignorant depravity of it. And they're just smart enough not to commit a bunch of detailed lies to paper that people could debate, expose, ridicule, and then use as documentation against them. But don't doubt, the unspoken, unwritten contract is that the collectivists want control, and they want control of every aspect of American life. And, frankly, they're damn close to getting it, to the world's detriment.

Posted by: msoja | September 21, 2010 1:45 PM | Report abuse

If we re-elect the democrats to a majority in congress, we know what they want to do. If we don't, and the republicans gain control, we know FOR SURE what they will do. They have told us. Take away our Social Security/Medicare/Medicaid for those without/stop all unemployment benefits for the desperate/strip away women's reproductive rights/devalue the existence of our gay and lesbian citizens/round up immigrants and send them out. This sounds so awful to me. I hope everyone reconsiders their anger and frustration & gives them longer than 18months to correct a 10 year disaster.

Posted by: lwallace333 | September 21, 2010 1:49 PM | Report abuse

stonedone, I think the Dems should be getting more credit for the good stuff they've done this session, but I agree that they need to be talking about their vision for the next two years more also. I honestly don't think I've heard *any* prominent Dem talk about what they'd do in the next session if they had majorities in both houses again. I'd really like to hear them talk about immigration and climate change, in particular, why they weren't able to get anything passed this time, and what there plan is to get something next time. I think majorities run on their record too often, when they should be running like minorities; talking about all the things they think need to be done and how they'll do it. I'd also like them to talk about the filibuster, and what they'd like to do at the start of the next session to de-fang it.

As for the post, this is what I'm talking about when in the past I've mentioned that I don't have any confidence that the Republicans will govern like adults. Everything they've done in the last two years (and, of course, long before that as well) has led me to believe that they don't have any real interest in serious policy. Their only interest is in making Dems look bad, whether that means discrediting their legislative plans/achievements, or trying to delegitimize the President. Maybe, hopefully, actually being in charge of something will temper the Republicans' rhetoric and they'll get down to actually legislating, but I'm not holding my breath.

Posted by: MosBen | September 21, 2010 1:51 PM | Report abuse

Former President Bill Clinton is not being intellectually honest. I remember him saying in an interview how he enjoyed working with Newt Gingrich.

Clinton lists welfare reform as one of his achievements and claims credit for ending "welfare as we know it." Yet he worked closely with Gingrich to pass it.

This example of talking out of both sides of his mouth brings back some of the bad memories of the Clinton years.

Posted by: danielhancock | September 21, 2010 2:39 PM | Report abuse

I can't believe nobody is commenting on Clinton's photo!

He has a glowing finger!

B.C. phone home

Posted by: will12 | September 21, 2010 2:42 PM | Report abuse

msoja, man, that's some conspiratorial ramblings you've got going there. I'll have to bring that up at the next collectivists meeting.

What I don't get about that sort of raving nonsense is that reality is plenty for us to disagree about. Democrats think that the government has a significant role to play in either fixing the economic situation, helping people through the downturn until the economy recovers, or both. Based on your posts, you clearly don't. Why not debate that rather than concoct some secret plan that liberals believe but never talk about. Not only is it not productive to our debate, but it's so easy to turn around? I don't think I need to waste our time dreaming up conspiratorial fantasies about conservatives for us to agree that it'd be blindingly easy and no more supported by any facts.

The Contract With America was a failure because from the start there was almost no chance of Republicans following through with everything in included. No matter how successful they could have been, they'd never measure up to the document, therefore they'd lose. Look at how much flack President Obama has gotten about his flip on the individual mandate. The reality of governing is that you probably never get exactly what you'd want and reality sometimes requires sacrifices of orthodoxy. Voters don't always understand that, so many politicians have gotten very good at talking about an issue without tying their hands too much on the nuts and bolts of how they'll solve it.

The Dems don't really need a Contract with America, but what they do need is an election platform that consists of more than, "The stuff we've done the last two years is better than you think it is!" They need to tell us what they'll do if they get another two years in charge.

Posted by: MosBen | September 21, 2010 2:42 PM | Report abuse

You know, it probably wouldn't be a bad idea for Dems to say, "This Congress we passed a historic overhaul of our healthcare system, but the work isn't over. That was a good first step, but we'll never have perfection. We know our friends on the other side of the aisle aren't happy that we passed this once-in-a-lifetime legislation, but rather than talk about attempting to repeal the law, which we all know they're not going to be able to do, we want to join with them in the next Congress to pass a new bill making our healthcare system even better. We're not talking another thousand page bill, here, but we should be able to come together on some simple tweaks, like changing some of the document requirements created for small businesses that now appear to create too great a burden on the biggest job creators in the economy."

Posted by: MosBen | September 21, 2010 2:48 PM | Report abuse

Comments and criticism aside, I do think what Bill Clinton said here is true - it will be a grid lock.

Basically America has not solved a core domestic problem for 3 decades - how much to pay (taxes) and how much to expect (entitlements). That is the clash.

We thought Clinton was one heck up a player to finally overcome Gringich and the gang and indeed Clinton was. But one 2000 election fiasco and we got Bush who resurrected the voodoo economics (tax cuts with entitlement expansion along with unwarranted expensive wars). Imagine if Gore was able to rule (and Clinton had not sowed seeds of financial de-regulation); we would have had a chance to bury the 'voodoo economics'. But Bush came 'voodoo economics' got the second life.

With the first Black President, it is Renaissance for 'voodoo economics' coupled with reluctance by Barack Obama to wage the war like how Clinton did. Besides, it seems that Dems only have one big gun - that of Obama. PA Governor Rendell is the only other who can be brought at the national level as a surrogate to fight this domestic ideological war - unresolved issues brought by Dark Lord Sauron and his Ox gang. But who else then? Dean, quite faded? DNC Chief Tom Kean is too weak. Gore - completely discredited with fizzling of global warming issue. Kerry - who would listen him? Hillary - yes, but she is doing outside USA. So Dems are really short of Generals to effectively wage this war. Shame on them.

So Clinton is quite right and in all probability it will be a blood bath; potentially bringing down Economic Recovery and this country eventually. Long live the 'voodoo economics'.

Posted by: umesh409 | September 21, 2010 3:06 PM | Report abuse

Will12, I was just coming back to post that. I can't believe it took me so long to make the E.T. connection.

unmesh409 - "fizzling of global warming issue"? Say it ain't so!

Posted by: MosBen | September 21, 2010 3:41 PM | Report abuse

I live in the liberal hell of west Michigan with deranged Rethugs on every corner. My enthusiasm is to go and vote for the Dems in the mid-terms.

I have frequently said the Dems are attacking like an abused spouse; willing to give their abusers almost anything to get them to stop the beatings. Repubs are using the media as their club.

Dems, all of us, have to stand up and not take it anymore. We need to retain majorities and pass the proper regulations. It's not that Dems are for BIG government but effective government. Repubs are against anyone who can stand up to the abuses and bullying of major corporations and upper monied classes.

Clinton is right. It will be eternal gridlock.

Posted by: Darsan54 | September 21, 2010 3:46 PM | Report abuse

So all of the good that came out of Clinton's term was the result of things he did from '92 to '94? If that's the case what's the problem with a GOP congress - congress clearly plays no role in governing. Or is that argument that everything that happened post '94 would have been so much better if only there'd been a Democratic congress. Maybe that's the case but it would seem to me to be an uphill argument.

Posted by: cooreilly | September 21, 2010 3:56 PM | Report abuse



P.S. I'll vote Democratic because the alternative is equivalent to voting for the devil.

Posted by: lauren2010 | September 21, 2010 4:22 PM | Report abuse

"If only the American people knew this -- not from me -- but from disinterested parties"

But that's the thing - truly disinterested parties are not listened to.

Posted by: slantedview | September 21, 2010 4:22 PM | Report abuse

I love how Bill Clinton is happy to take credit for the balanced budgets coming from congress near the end of his tenure, BUT so quick to DEMONIZE THOSE DRACONIAN HARSH AUSTERE CUTS MADE BY NEWT GINGRICH.

What a d__bag!

Posted by: FastEddieO007 | September 21, 2010 5:09 PM | Report abuse

Will12, that's hilarious.

Posted by: bgmma50 | September 21, 2010 6:12 PM | Report abuse

--"I don't think I need to waste our time dreaming up conspiratorial fantasies about conservatives for us to agree that it'd be blindingly easy and no more supported by any facts."--

Absolutely, the conservative are essentially as worthless as the Dems, though I'd say that they've allowed themselves to be corrupted by the never ending agitation for collectivism. Still, they've allowed it, and are to wholly condemned for it, but pointing that out takes nothing from any argument against the Dems and their barely concealed collectivist, socialist, marxist avowals.

--"The Contract With America was a failure because from the start there was almost no chance of Republicans following through with everything in included. "--

If I recall correctly, the Contract was fulfilled, according to its terms. The Repugs acted as promised on every one of items, but many of them were on the lines of "We promise to bring X to a vote", and then X *was* voted on, but failed to carry, which, of course, was not something that was promised or that could be promised. But the terms were carried out, and for many Americans, that was an improvement, because, obviously, the Dem Congresses up to that time, entrenched and corrupt as they were, had things so bottled up that the average citizen couldn't tell what was going on in the legislatures. The GOP was a breath of fresh air, for about a year and a half, until they got the spending disease, too.

Posted by: msoja | September 21, 2010 9:49 PM | Report abuse

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